Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Halloween Grinch

I have a confession to make. Halloween is probably my least favorite of the major holidays each year.

On Valentine's Day I like to get chocolates and flowers for my wife.

The Fourth of July is loud but shooting off a few small fireworks around the house is fine and as long as we don't have to go to one of the big fireworks displays where there are huge crowds (with the interminable parking jams that result), I'm happy.

Thanksgiving is great if you have family around and feels cosy and comfortable even if you don't. Plus I'm usually pretty tired once the cooking and cleaning is done, so there isn't much stress.

Christmas is cool enough to compensate for the heightened stress that it brings.

But Halloween doesn't have a lot of redeeming factors for me.

  • I'm not really into dressing up in costumes that much. So I don't put much advance thought or effort or money into them.
  • I don't really like horror movies. My wife and I watch a scary movie every Halloween as a tradition, but I'm mostly hoping not to be bored or grossed out.
  • Having dozens of strangers ring my doorbell and ask me for candy stresses me out. I feel an obligation to have enough candy on hand. (The fact that we have a dog that goes ballistic when anybody comes near the door and so has to be kept shut away and whining in a separate room doesn't help). I do like to give out the candy itself, but the irregular timing of the visits just makes me tense for some reason.
  • By the same token, I expect someone to go to a modicum of effort to get free candy from me. The kids who don't say trick or treat, or who are really old, are a little annoying. The ones who keep coming up to the door after all the candy is gone, the lights are out, and it is quite late, really annoy me.
  • I'm also not big into this growing trend of people driving their kids into other people's neighborhoods and trolling for candy. When I was a kid, we went to a school party and walked around our neighborhood. People didn't drive us up to a street and pick us up at the end to drive off and deposit us elsewhere for more candy acquisitions.
Maybe I would feel different if I had a chance to go to a grown up Halloween party again, but that hasn't been the case for a decade or so. And so many adults seem to be so much more into Halloween now than they were when I was a kid.

I don't remember my parents making a whole lot of showy stuff for effect or dressing up in complicated costumes themselves at Halloween. I do remember my mom making simply awesome costumes for my sister that routinely won prizes at the school parties.

So I'm sitting here as the first groups of trick or treaters arrive, waiting by the front door as my kids are trick-or-treating with their mom. I could have gone too, but for some reason I feel weird to be asking other people for candy when there is no one at our house to hand out candy.

Like I said, I have a weird thing about Halloween. Still, the kids like it, so I try not to be a drag.


Heyoka said...

Mom did make some awesome damn costumes! Those are my best memories of Halloween. TBH, it makes very little impact on me now, as an adult. I can't be arsed to figure out a costume, I don't like to go out much. I think tonight was the first Halloween in years that I've actually gone out to a party (at someone's house, a collection of geeks). I don't even get trick-or-treaters because we're in a gated complex (as most of them are around here).

Doug said...

Yeah, you looked awesome every year. I think I remember a unicorn, a hobbit, Holly Hobby, and the hound from the fox in the hound among others.

We get the cars pulling up and unloading kids like bandits who raid our candy. I spent about $30 on candy this year (10 bags or so) and we ran out in two hours.

Then someone came and rang our doorbell repeatedly at 10 pm, in spite of the fact that the lights were out and I had put a box with the words "out of candy" on top of the doorbell.

But now it's over. What remains is the horror of raking up a billion leaves . . .